Why GS1 standards for traceability?


by Henrikke Sylte

Simplify integrations with GS1 standards

The future of consumer engagement, regulatory compliance and value chain efficiency depends on being able to understand the full lifecycle of products and their component ingredients. For apparel, unique digital product IDs will connect consumer demands with brand goals and ESG initiatives. But to make the most of what unique digital IDs and traceability offer, a universal language and set of standards need to underpin data sharing and accessibility throughout a product’s life, making data interoperable throughout the supply chain.

This is where GS1 standards come in. GS1 standards are designed to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels. They form a business language that identifies, captures and shares key information about products, locations, assets and more.

Understanding GS1 standards

GS1 standards make it possible to provide trusted information about a product throughout its lifecycle. This improves transparency and traceability while also providing consumers with a full range of information about the products they consume. It also forms the basis for being able to create dynamic and interactive experiences between brands and consumers. Brands are able to talk directly with consumers through GS1-powered barcodes and QR codes. Many businesses have successfully used GS1 standards for traceability.

  • Open, global, proven and simple
  • Technology-independent permitting full interoperability and compatibility
  • End users are not locked into proprietary solutions
  • A globally standardized system for traceability
  • Proven robustness over the last 30+ years in different sectors worldwide

What is GS1 EPCIS?

Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) is a global GS1 standard that enables information sharing about the physical movements and product status as goods travel throughout the supply chain.

  • What – Information about what trade items and/or shipping containers were sent/received
  • When – The date and time of the event including the local time zone
  • Where – The location of the event, and where the items are expected to be following the event
  • Why – Information about the business context (business steps and dispositions)

GS1 Digital Link helps bring products to life using GS1 identifiers. It removes the burden of communicating about a product and its provenance, ingredients, and other product data on the packaging directly and creating an opportunity for communicating directly with consumers.

The GS1 Digital Link enables coherent use of the same code across applications, allowing for consistent representation of GS1 identification keys in web addresses linking to online information and services. GS1 Digital Link can replace the current 1D barcode to become “one code for everything”.

The GS1 Digital Link code can be scanned by a variety of users, including:

  • Manufacturers: for hierarchy building and data association
  • Distributors: for the rebuilding of hierarchies
  • Retail point-of-sales: for reading pricing and registering units as sold
  • Inspectors: for checking conformity in distribution and retail
  • Consumers:  for checking authenticity and provenance, or to participate in a loyalty program

The promise of GS1 Digital Link means that packaging can be simplified and brands can connect to consumers in previously impossible ways.

Watch the on-demand webinar on GS1 Digital Link in the real world.